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Oil and Water: The New Orleans Photo Alliance's Photo Expo About the Gulf 


Noon-4 p.m. Sat.-Sun.; Aug. 14-Sept. 18

New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery, 1111 St. Mary St., 610-4899;

Opening reception and gallery talk

6 p.m.-9 p.m. Sat., Aug. 14

The New Orleans Photo Alliance cast a wide net in its call for entries for Gulf, its photography show opening Saturday.

  "We didn't want it to be a disaster show," says Owen Murphy, program director for the alliance. "We wanted to make it about the bounty of the sea: a photo representation of the marshes, the people who live there, the industries that work there — what is the physical beauty there?"

  The call for submissions kept the rules broad, soliciting photos about the Gulf and Gulf Coast, so subjects include inland bayous and landlocked sites as well as some abstract works. More than 250 entries arrived from across the nation, and guest juror Clint Willour, curator and former director of the Galveston Arts Center, selected 30 photos and one video.

  "I could have done a show entirely about birds or shrimping, or at least fishing," Wilfour says. Instead, he whittled down the entries to a diverse show of black and white and color photography in artistic and documentary styles depicting beaches, fishermen, oil industry shots, spill cleanup efforts and plants and animals in habitats with and without oil. A couple of shots capture the response of protesters and CNN's Anderson Cooper reporting from Woldenberg Park on the riverfront.

  Photos not related to the spill outnumbered spill shots three to one, Willour says. And even the oil spill drew a range of treatments. There are several photos about the spill's effect on wildlife, complete with oily pelicans and a dolphin swimming below a surface of oil sheen. Jean Fulton Alt's Life Guards is a stark image of oily lifeguards, but it was staged — on the shore of Lake Michigan. And Irwin Poché's Rig Divers looks up through clear blue water at fish and divers circling the underwater apparatus of a rig.

  Many photographers focused on the uses and resources of the Gulf before or away from the spill. Eugenia Uhl's Gulf Shores features a beachgoer holding up a live crab. There also are several panoramic beach scenes, and a duck blind set up in a marsh.

  Willour has been the director of the Galveston Arts Center for two decades. He's done portfolio reviews for the New Orleans Photo Alliance, but this is the first show he's curated. He'll lead a gallery walk-through and talk at the show's opening reception.

Gulf Shores - EUGENIA UHL

Port Arthur Fishing - DALTON SCOTT
  • Dalton Scott
  • Port Arthur Fishing

Couple and Shadow - LEWIS HODNETT
  • Lewis Hodnett
  • Couple and Shadow

Rig Divers - IRWIN POCHÉ
  • Irwin Poché
  • Rig Divers

  • Jean Fulton Alt
  • Life Guards
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